Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Eleventh Hour

Yesterday's documentary, which was the last film of this semester, was The 11th Hour, a film everyone needs to watch  and I believe you can watch it free here, click !
Some  fifty prominent scientists and activists talk -- with wonderful visuals behind them -- about the state of the earth.  Which is, in a word, DIRE!

One person in our group remarked "You're preaching to the choir."  Very true.  Many things in the film hit home dramatically but one I mentioned in the discussion was that one of the speakers said that industrialization is the environment's greatest enemy.  And there was plenty of reason to believe him.  But, as I said, I have spent the 12 weeks of this semester in a course about the economic development of Southeast Asia (read, industrialization since WWII and continuing rapidly). Southeast Asia includes (with others) three of the world's four most populous countries: China, India and Indonesia. These three are industrializing very, very rapidly, which simply means enormous destruction of natural resource, enormous pollution and enormous need to feed literally billions of people all of whom also hope to achieve a standard of living similar to America's. (America is the fourth largest population).  They are not going to stop their growth unless something cataclysmic happens.  Nor is America. although some people suggested that Americans have been traditionally capable of great change under duress and that they can hope the now generally comfortable Americans can learn frugality and change their demanding ways.

My feeling is that won't be enough.  Many voices suggested -- yes, the doom sayers! -- that, just as, at the end of the Permian age the earth became uninhabitable to many life forms and 95% of them died off, we may be at such a state in a very short time -- how short?  We don't know.  We do know degradation of the earth is happening far faster than the doom sayers of the 1970s, who began the alarm, even imagined.  Watch this film!!!  Knowing what's going on in the world is far better than not knowing.  All that happens when an ostrich puts his head in the sand is he makes his ass a prime target for attack.



June -- interesting film. Lots of ideas and theories. Almost too much! Retrofits and redesigns and penguins jumping out of boxes is not what I call sustainable. This film would promote good conversations but beyond that? How many have we seen like this? My opinion is simple, frugality and population control. A great book to read, The Power of Place, by Harm De Blij, would be a good contrast to much of the thinking of this film.
-- barbara


June -- I need to add that some of the commentators in the film had some great ideas like a waste free industrial system. And the woman who said to vote -- by the personal choices one makes and there were others. I thought I sounded rather negative in my first comment and I certainly didn't want to leave that impression. -- barbara

June Calender said...

The film is very much talking heads saying things we've heard before. I see it as an overview. The woman who runs the docuemntary series looks for books like the you mention and I will drop her an email about it shortly.